Michael Calhoun (@michaelcalhoun, mrcalhoun@cbs.com)By Michael Calhoun

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Corn and soybeans are among the biggest businesses for Archer Daniels Midland Co. and the organizations that represent farmers of both are urging ADM to move its headquarters to St. Louis.

A week ago, the company announced its global headquarters is leaving Decatur, Illinois. Reportedly under consideration for the new home are Chicago, St. Louis, and Minneapolis.

Rick Tolman, CEO of the National Corn Growers Association, says St. Louis has the best features of both a large and small city.

“One of the advantages we find here is when international guests come to visit us it’s pretty easy to take them over the river so they can see the locks and dams, can see Lock and Dam 26, we can take them to see a grain elevator, we can take them out to see farms pretty close,” tolman explained. “It’s a little more difficult in a city like Chicago or New York to have access to those kinds of things.”

Steven Censky, CEO of the American Soybean Association, says that ADM would find a ready-made pool of employees thanks to Monsanto and other agricultural companies in the area.

“We also are really at the center of the innovation that’s going on here in biotechnology and biology,” he said. “St. Louis really is the center of the Bio-Belt.”

Both associations are based in the St. Louis area.

In addition to Monsanto, Bunge, Solae, Nestlé Purina, Washington University and the Danforth Plant Science Center, Tolman said “I’m suspecting that ADM is not aware of the second-level and third-level of agri-industry companies that are located here in the St. Louis region.”

The lack of commercial flights at Decatur’s airport is a big reason for ADM’s move, according to their CEO.  Censky says global access is important for him, too.

“Not only to bring in teams to talk about soybeans and the marketing of soybeans to do our market development work, but also, of course, going overseas to different points, as well as out to Washington D.C., where I go a lot to address all the policy issues,” Censky said.

Tolman agreed that St. Louis is now emerging from the shadow of the TWA hub loss.

“For a period of time, three or four years ago, it was difficult to find direct flights out of St. Louis after American dropped a lot of their direct flights,” he explained. “But with Southwest filling in it’s gotten a lot better and I frequently — almost always — am able to fight a direct flight to where I need to go.”

Both the corn and soybeans officials said they’ll be involved with the campaign to land the headquarters.

“We’re very interested in having them come to St. Louis,” Censky told KMOX News. “We’ll be reaching out and having some of those conversations.”

KMOX © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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